Love in Migration

By showcasing minor characters with the freedom to migrate instantaneously through doors, Exit West shows that people immigrate to other countries to find possibility, which often takes different forms. One is that is demonstrated is love.

Early in the novel, the people who go through the doors follow the classic narrative of the endangered refugee in search of safety. What we see with Saeed and Nadia, life in their own city became impossible, without freedom, privacy, or financial opportunities there was no opportunity to deeply love and thrive together. The two travel through a door to a new beginning in hopes of growing their love, but also in search of safety together.

Later, in Chapter 9, the wrinkled Brazilian man goes back and forth between Brazil and Amsterdam until his relationship with the Dutchman turns into a romance: “A week later a war photographer…[was] a witness to their first kiss, which she captured, without expecting to, through the lens of her camera, and then deleted, later that night, in a gesture of uncharacteristic sentimentality and respect” (176). He migrated to find love.

Or even the maid in Chapter 11 chooses not to migrate at all because she assumes nowhere else in the world can accept her and no possibilities exist outside her community. Even the love and support of her daughter can’t convince her to begin the journey to a new life. Whatever the initial motivation behind migration, the characters in the novel all search for new possibilities, which can mean safety, opportunity, or love.

One thought on “Love in Migration


    makes me think about all the people who’s ultimate decision to stay or go relies on love or safety. I know immigrants, and it can be rather scary to move, to leave people that love you behind, but I know it can also be thrilling to think of the new life one can have. Quality post.


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